VOT Ttn BE ClRCULAiRBi Compliments of Bffr1ir.a1 Rp.cordBI The Preacher's Opportunity in the Twentieth Century An Address By Baylus Cade Shelby, N. C. Delivered before the Pastors' Conference of the Baptist State Convention, at Wadesboro, N. C, December 7, 1909. Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2013 http://archivQ,org/details/preachersopportu1909cade L3f The Preacher's Opportunity in the Twentieth Century. Mr. President and Brethren: — It has pleased your Committee upon Programme to appoint me to discuss before you at this time, the Preacher's Opportunity in the Twentieth Century. The sub- ject is a large one. And, were I competent to discuss it exhaustively, the time, which I may properly give to it, is all too short to permit an adequate treatment upon this occasion. The most that I can hope to do, therefore, is to make some suggestion to your larger intelligence, which may be somewhat useful to you in your future studies upon this subject; and this I will now do. I. — Summary of the Century's Distinctions. In order that the Preacher's Opportunity in the Twentieth Century may emerge into luminous view in this discussion, it is necessary that we should take a rapid survey of some of the things which distinguish the Twentieth Century: (1) The present century is distinguished by its enormous Industrial Activity. And this industrial activity promises rewards to the dominant classes more extravagant than any, that were ever dreamed of in times of the wildest fable; whilst it entails upon the underling classes hardships, in comparison wherewith, the woes of the Baron's retainers in the Middle Age may look like emancipation. (2) The present century is marked as distinctly the Age of Machinery. UBRARY 2 The presence of machinery in industrial life makes it impossible, that persons of small means should be proprietors; and it robs the craftsman of the skill of his hand, and degrades him to the level of a mere helper, whose only function it is, to feed a machine. (3) The present century is known as the Age of the Widest Artificial Distribution of Commodities. And this distribution puts both the producer and consumer into the power of conscienceless rapac- ity; and, at the same time, breeds swarms of lazy middlemen, who suck the marrow out of human thrift, and leave the naked bone to the gnawing of hungry children. (4) The present century is often spoken of as the time of the greatest Extension of the World's Commerce. And this commercialism is nothing else but the struggle of the strong against the weak; the ac- tivity of greed exploiting the poor; the onslaught of hideous utility against the domain of beauty; the ugly gilding of lucre upon the throne of art; the march of the cohorts of selfishness against the Golden Rule. (5) The present century is marked by Great Activity in Education. But the tendency, in higher education more par- ticularly, is away from the masses, and in the direction of the classes. The signs are multiply- ing, with disconcerting rapidity, that Plutus means to mould the youth-hood of the world to be the partisans of monopoly, by dominating the educational institutions, both sacred and secular. (6) The present century is distinguished by an Extent of Literary Spawning, that finds no paral- lel in the annals of time. 3 And some of this literary spume is worthless; much of it is distinctly immoral; more of it is one- sided and misleading; and all of it is soiled with the slime of unfaith. (7) The present century is noted for its Almost Universal Religious Unrest. And this religious unrest is begotten of a vari- ous parentage. It is, in part, due to the stupid, current religious belief, that Christianity is capa- ble of final statement; it is, in part, also due to the utterly irrational statements of some of the Christian beliefs; it arises, in part, from the false findings of philosophy; it is enormously encour- aged by an utterly blind and pig-headed scientific determination and method, that leaves the larger half of God's universe out of the fieli of its inves- tigations, and insists, that nothing is real, which cannot be measured by a haberdasher's tape, or weighed upon a chemist's scales. (8) The present century is eminently distin- guished by a Compromise — not, indeed, open and brave, but tacit and mean — betwixt Organized Christianity and the World. The unspoken terms of this compromise exact endowments from greed, and engage to silence the cries of conscience; they take over the pride and power of social place, and reciprocate the favors by stilling the clamors of morals; they win the ap- proval of wealth by gilding the form of denunci- ation with the tinsel of praise; they compound for largesses in money, by imposing the livery of shame, and enjoining perpetual silence. In the eight particulars now enumerated, the present century finds its chief distinctions; and each one of them is a cancerous growth, which, without excision, threatens the very life of right- eousness in the world. But you must not conclude from my enumera- tion of these evils of our century, that I write my name in the ignoble list of whining pessimists, who believe, that the whole scheme of things is going to the devil out of hand. Bad as the pres- ent century is, it is, far and away, the best cen- tury of them all — the very best of them all. It has more of intellect, more of morals, more of merciful intelligence, more wide-seeing eyes, more open hands, more unselfish lives, more of the Christ in its institutions and aims, than had any one of the centuries that have gone before it. But, good as it is, the evils I have mentioned are real — startlingly real — and they do need mend- ing. And it is the mending of the evils of the present century, that will furnish the chief wealth of opportunity to the preachers of our time. To a discussion of these opportunities I now turn my attention. II.— - The Moderately Endowed Preacher's Oppor- tunity in the Twentieth Century. The extent and quality of the preacher's opportunity in the Twentieth Century, or in any other century, for that matter, will be determined by the extent and quality of the preacher's endow- ment. What may be a large opportunity for one class of personal endowment, may be a very small opportunity, or no opportunity at all, for another class of endowment. The young David in the ministry may be no more effective in the armor of Saul, than was the stripling in the armor of the giant warrior in the olden time; and the giant Saul of the ministry may be utterly unable to win a victory for the Master with the stones of the brook and the childish sling. The opportunity to the preacher in the present century will be found to be strictly correlated with the personal endowment of the preacher himself; and diversities of gifts in the preachers of our century will stand right over opposite to diversities of opportunity therein. But it is a tremendously encouraging fact, which I now point out in the pregnant statement, that our century will be certain to offer more nu- merous opportunity to preachers of moderate abil- ity, than has ever been before offered to preach- ers of this class by any of the centuries that have gone into history. To most of you here present, this statement may seem to be rankest hersey. "Ah," says some one, "do we not hear it said, over and over again, that our wonderful century calls for preachers of large ability, as they were never called for in the times that are gone?" Yes; it must be said that preachers of over- topping ability are called for nowadays with an insistent repetition, that comes into the immediate neighborhood of blatantcy. But it must also be said, that they, who are doing the calling, do not know what is most needed in the minietry of to- day. They may know what they want in the preachers of our time; but they certainly do not know what is most needed in the preachers of our time. Some simple considerations will make my mean- ing clear. (1) It is certain, that great ability in any per- son isolates him from the common masses of men. To be intellectually head and shoulders above oth- er men, may afford a man a larger view of human things than the common masses of men can attain unto. And the intellectual elevation, that puts a man into possession of larger views, takes him up out of contact with the needs of those, who are beneath him; so that he finds, that his wider view has been gained by the narrowing of his sympathies; or, to put it more accurately, he finds, that the elevation of his viewpoint has involved the lessening of the number of his contact points with the masses of men. This being true, it follows, perforce, that the preachers of moderate endowment will gather the greater wealth of opportunity out of the present century; and that they may comfort themselves whilst they are gathering up this wealth of op- portunity, with the certain knowledge, that per- sonal greatness amongst preachers entails some disadvantages and limitations, whereunto they themselves are not at all subject. (2) It must be said now, and some one ought to have said it long ago, that the field of useful accomplishment is narrower by far, for the preach- ers of distinguished ability, than it is for their moderately endowed brethren. I am aware, that this statement wears the look of paradox. But it is the sober truth neverthe- less. There are many more places of usefulness for preachers of modest gifts, than there are for their more largely endowed brethren. Con- spicuous ability is relatively rare in any walk of life; just as places exactly suited to conspicuous ability are relatively rare in the world's activities. Many a pastor of country churches looks upon his more largely endowed brother in the pulpit of some great city church, and longs for what he thinks to be the wider field of his more fortunate brother. But he does not see, that the city pastor is hampered and limited by a thousand and one industrial hardships and vices, that do not touch, or limit, him at all. The majesty of a great building, and the trappings of fashionable wor- ship, catch his imagination, and lead him to envy his more highly placed brother, without revealing to him the one great fact, attested by all history, that "the country makes men; and the cities de- stroy them"; that he himself is placed at the point, where men and women grow into stalwart proportions; and the city pastor is placed at the exact point, where manly and womanly disinte- gration finds its dreadful maximum. (3) But one other consideration must be noted, which makes it certain, that the greater wealth of opportunity in the present century will come to preachers of moderate personal endowment; and that consideration lurks in the fact, that the civil- ization of our time is rapidly tending towards greater and greater complexity along the lines of its movements. It is a fact, whereunto there is no exception in history known to me, that the simpler a civiliza- tion may be, the wider the field it offers for the employment of commanding ability in men. It is this fact, and this fact alone, which gives an entirely clear explanation to that finding of his- tory, which declares the simpler ages to be the ages that are truly heroic. Not seldom do we hear the complaint in our day, that the world has no heroes now; and the absence of heroic men from the life of to-day is, by shallow persons, thought to be due to the fact, that no men of heroic ability are born in our time. The truth is, we have men in the life of to-day, who are as large of intellectual stature as were the heroic men of times long past. But they do not come out and shine, because they are eclipsed and bewildered by the senseless complexity of our civilization. A further effect of this complexity of our civil- ization upon opportunity in our century must be now noted. The increasing complexity of our civilization works not alone the obscuration of large ability in men; but it does enormously enlarge the number of persons, who are to be only hewers of wood and drawers of water in the world's work, both sacred and secular. And anything, which en- larges the numbers of persons, who are to be sim- ply subordinate in the world's activities, does enormously multiply the spheres for the employ- ment of preachers of moderate personal endow- ment. So, I take to myself great joy in pointing out to you, my brethren beloved, that our century will offer to the preachers of modest ability more numerous, and more inviting opportunity, than was ever offered to preachers of their class by any other century since Christianity began to be. The spheres of domination for these modestly gifted preachers may not, perchance, be so wide in the present century, as were those offered to men of their class in the ages of simpler society; but they will be greatly more numerous than ever before in the history of preaching. III. — Opportunity of Industrial Betterment. The Christianity of the present century, like unto that of several centuries past, exhibits a good deal of ingenuity in its avoidance of indus- trial questions and issues. It concerns itself mainly, if not wholly, in saving what it calls the souls of men, and allows the bodies of many of them to go to the poor-house. It points men away to the glories of the other world, and makes wide promises of golden pavements, and white robes, and harps and crowns, and everlasting song, in the sweet bye and bye; and it does al- most nothing at all at making conditions here in this present world, wherein the saved souls may find opportunity to rehearse for the joys of the great hereafter. Even a careless observer may see, that it costs Christians nothing in dollars and cents; it costs them nothing of personal pains, or of exacting stress of personal labor, to give over to underling men the whole splendid wealth of gold and joy in the future world. To give to men all there may be in the future world, costs nothing here but a little pumped-up enthusiasm, and some cubic feet of atmosphere. Religious miseduca- tion furnishes the enthusiasm, and the atmosphere is stolen from God. Now, the Christian Scriptures do distinctly teach, that Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. And Godliness has prom- ise of the life which is to come, only because the life that now is, is designed to create and mould manhood for effective and joyful citizenship in the future world. The question Christians should now ask is not, Shall this man be saved? But the real question for them to ask is this, Is this man worth saving? Have our Lord's people been see- ing to it, that this man shall be given a chance 10 to get out of this present life some manhood to qualify him for a large intake of the joys of the heavenly state? Believe me, my dear brethren, men do not go into the heavenly world to get their manhood, ready made, out of a stock of it, that God keeps on hand. They go there, if they go there at all, because they have already gotten some manhood out of conditions here, which the Christ enables Christians to create and conserve in our common life and activities. The present century offers a large wealth of opportunity to the preachers of Christianity there- in to bring about two results in the industrial world, which are imperatively demanded by the bests of common mercy, and without which, the Kingdom of God can never come in its fullness; and these I will now point out to you: (1) The Christian preachers of our great cen- tury have an opportunity to compel the thought and conscience of intelligent men to recognize the essential, original dignity of all honest hu- man toil. The shallow labor agitator demands, that la- borers shall be taken out of their places, and be made into what they, and the inane herd of dilettanti folk, call gentlemen. And the educat- ed, professional and leisure classes, when they think of laborers at all, think of them as obscure objects of pity, to whom they owe nothing more than the pale wish, that some means might be found to pull them up to the social level, where- upon they themselves live and move. This sort of treatment of laboring folk is not alone futile; it is infamous. If the laborers were all taken up to-day into the places, where they 11 might wear kid gloves and pilot cloth, Adam's children would all be dead within six months for want of bread. Doubtless, these educated, pro- fessional and leisure classes are admirable, de- sirable, necessary. But the laborers are equally admirable, desirable, necessary; and — much more honorable. I sat in my office some years ago ,and watched through the window, a library building grow up through its scaffolding, into its beautiful propor- tions; proportions eloquent in themselves, but infinitely more eloquent in the blessed utilities they set out in symbol. And, as I watched and admired, I said to myself, over and over again: "How many hundreds of well dressed fools will come here and chant the praises of the architect, who planned the building, without being capable of saying one word in praise of the men, who carried the bricks and mortar, hod by hod, from cellar up to battlement." The architect earned his praises. He gets his praises. The hod car- rier earned his praises, too. He does not get his praises. And that is the difference; where- upon God must look, and Frown. North Carolina may boast of the beneficences of her professional men; and then she may en- large upon her boasting of them, without imputa- tion of extravagance in her boasting. But I de- clare unto you, that the men, who made the sweet potato crop in North Carolina this present year, did more for human weal than all her pro- fessional men have done within a lustrum. The laboring classes do not want your money; they do not want your social place; they do not want your culture; they do not want your pity. They do want you to forget their obscure em- 12 placement; their coarse clothes; their rounding shoulders; their labor knotted hands, — in the joyful recollection, that they are men! — your peers in honor! — without whom, not you and God together, can unwind the million-threaded skein of human hope and destiny. Now, the Christ's preachers in this great cen- tury have an opportunity to get for these toilers the ages-long withholden recognition, wherewith- out the triumph song of God's Kingdom can never be sung over human struggle finished and past. (2) The preachers of the twentieth century will have ample opportunity to compel industrial leaders to do simple industrial justice to the world's workers; and the getting of this done will be as great an accomplishment for the bring- ing in the Righteousness of the Kingdom of God, as has ever been secured underneath the stars. To the doing of industrial justice, it has been objected from the beginning of history until now, that labor is dependent upon capital; and they must not be arrayed the one against the other; since their interests are identical. The only thing in the world that keeps this ob- jection from embodying a great truth is, that it is an enormous and most wicked lie. For since the time when two of Adam's children first went into copartnership for the doing of anything, until this present moment, one of the parties to an in- dustrial undertaking has not carried away more than he earned of the produce of their joint la- bor, without proclaiming to all men with sense enough to see it, and with goodness enough to admit it, that their interests are not at all iden- tical. 13 But this hoary objection to industrial re-adjust* ment is based upon an assumption, which is ut- terly, wickedly false; and that assumption is, that capital is something apart from labor. The simple truth is, that there is not such a thing now; that there never has been such a thing; that there never can be such a thing, — as capital apart from labor. Capital is nothing else but power created by labor, and stored up, either in kind, or in symbol, in the hands of him, who created it, or in the hands of one, who got it away from him, who created it, by some species of over-reaching. Apart from the natural materials, impartially sown here of God Himself, there is not a value on earth to-day, that is not the cre- ation of labor, either manual, or mental. How stupid it were, therefore, were it not so infernal- ly wicked, to talk of gathered up creations of la- bor as capital; and demand that it shall have special rewards. Capital is, forevermore, the creation of labor. How then can its interests be at all identical with those of labor? Are the interests of the creator no larger, and none other, than those of the creature? The one has feeling; the other is insensate. The one has wants; the other has no mentality. The one is invited by the future; the other sees no past nor future. The one has aspiration; the other is inert — dead. In the enforcement of this objection to the doing of industrial justice, it has been often said, that labor cannot get along without capital. If the meaning of this saying be, that labor cannot make captains of industry; cannot make luxury; cannot feed extravagance; cannot batten social parasites, — without capital, it may be ad- 14 tnitted; not otherwise. The very severest pro- nouncement, that has been made upon human intelligence, since the world began, gets all of its terrible force from the fact, that a large ma- jority of respectable persons in the world to-day, are able to accept this hoary falsehood as gospel truth. Labor may not, indeed, be able to make the conditions for the feeding of social parasites, already mentioned, without capital. But labor is the only thing in the world to-day — the only thing that ever has been in the world, industrial, or other — that can get along without capital. It has always gotten along; and, in addition to get- ting along, it has created all the dividends, that have ever been declared. There is not a single human creature revelling in the nasty trappings of luxury to-day who is not helping to use up in idle- ness and vice, the surpluses of values, that were created by labor, and by labor alone. It may perchance appear to the preachers of our century, when they think of industrial things, that there is nothing in them to mend. To those of them, who may thus think, there will, indeed, be nothing to mend. Not because there may be no mending needed; but because they themselves are not menders. It may perchance appear to other preachers of our century, that, whilst there may be much to mend, the mending is so difficult, as to be impossible. Not so, my dear brethren. The means of mending are at hand. And all that may be needed is, the creation of such a Christly grasp and sweep of conscience, as may compel the application of the means to the end. Industrial justice will have been done to all men — to both the owners of capital and the la- borers — when it shall have been made to come 15 to pass, that workers are the owners of their equitable shares of all the dividends, that may remain after capital shall have been paid its righteous interest, and labor shall have had its righteous wage. And this is just the same thing as saying, that Co-operation is the one specific remedy, which shall clear away all the industrial injustice of the ages. The preachers of this wonderful century have an opportunity to put so much of the Lord Jesus into the sentiment and thought of the world, as to compel this co-operation in all the industrial en- terprises of all future time. IV. — -Opportunity for Religious Betterment. (1) The present century holds out to the preachers of our religion opportunity to compel scientific persons to take into account in their investigations, that splendid larger half of God's universe, which they call the Spiritual Sphere, and which they wickedly wave aside, and treat as if it were wholly unreal. To a thoughtful person it must appear to be certain, that no one else but the arch enemy of both God and men, could ever have invented so deadly a thing, as is the distinction betwixt re- ligion and science. Unless there be a schism in the person of God himself, it must be true, that any scientific fact must have a religious value; and that any religious fact, whatsoever, must be a datum of science. The God of the stellar movements must be the God of religious aspira- tion, if there be not two Gods within one sphere. The force that holds the planets in their places must not be more certainly cosmic, than is the longing in human souls for the consciousness of 16 personal purging and purity. The universe is not two; it is one. The religion of the race is not an expedient; it is the necessary outcome of the very constitution of the universe. The move- ments of matter and the activities of the spirit in men are, alike, the Functioning of God in the whole order of things. The view I have now presented, is that of the Bible. The preachers of the present century have an opportunity to set it forth, such as none of the centuries agone ever offered to men. Let them lay hold upon the opportunity, and compel science to be religious, and religion to be scien- tific; compel the Scientist to worship, the Religion- ist to investigate and think; compel the world to know, that there is one Religion, one Science; and that God is not more Immanent in the one of them than He is in the other; since each of them is inclusive of the other; and both of them find explanation in Him, and properly employ themselves in bringing Him out fully into the consciousness of men. (2) To these preachers of the present century, large opportunity will be given to restate the find- ings of Christian theology in the terms of a larger and better intellectuality. Not all other hindrances in the world, taken together, have so retarded the onward march of the Christian religion, as has the stupid belief of a majority of its confessors, that it can be stat- ed exhaustively and finally. The Christian religion could be stated finally, and once for all, were it an institution. It could be stated exhaustively, and for all time, were it an expedient. It could be thought out, finished and sealed up, were it a dogma. It could be 17 made to take its last form in statement, were it concerned about a fixed quantity. But the Chris- tian religion is not an institution. It is not an expedient. It is infinitely more than a dogma. It is not concerned about a fixed quantity. The Christian religion is not any one of these; it is not all of these taken together. The Christian religion is Life! It makes institutions. It em- ploys expedients. It prescribes dogmas. It un- covers fixed quantities. It is not these; nor any of these; it is more than all these. It is — Life! And Life cannot be finally stated. Life cannot be put into formularies. Christianity is Jesus, our Lord, in the lives of men; is God, the Father Almighty, flowering out in the life of the uni- verse. Christianity is larger than history; larger than literature; larger than precept; larger than Bibles; larger than any statement of it by either men or angels. Jesus, our Lord, is more than the Incarnation; more than His earth-life; more than His earth-death; more than the atonement. Jesus, our Lord, can never be stated to men in any terms but those of a finished and beatified manhood; and a finished and beatified manhood the universe has seen not yet at all; and, possi- bly, shall not see, world without end! — world without end! But let me specify one or two particulars, wherein Christian truth needs restatement. (a) Christian Theology needs to be so restated as to eliminate, once and forever, the distinction betwixt the Natural and the Supernatural. This distinction was invented — it was not found — by a philosophy, distinguished for nothing else so much, as for its wonderful genius for stupid blundering. It was taken up, and has been used 18 by a science, as stupidly eminent for blundering, as was the philosophy wherefrom it borrowed. It. was adopted by Christian teachers, as wearing the ear-marks of certitude, in that it had the sanction of both science and philosophy. But there is nothing in the Bible, there is nothing in philosophy, there is nothing in any ascertained fact, or set of facts, in nature to ever suggest it to any one. It is an invention pure and simple. There is no Supernatural! Any rational use of the word Nature must in- clude within that term — must find within that term — the entire sum of existences. And any understanding of that term, which includes the whole sum of existences, must include God also; and there is nothing above God; there is nothing super-God. There is the supermaterial, the super- sensuous, the superhuman; but never the Super- natural. The movements of the universe, from the flashing of suns in the stellar spaces, to the falling of a hair from a human head, are nothing else but the activities of God. The regularities of the operations of the universe are nothing else but the habits of God; expressing himself for the enlargement and final beatification of the intelli- gences of His creative Beneficence. This, my dear brethren, is what your Bibles said about it long ago; and this is what your century enables you to say about it, for your own usefulness and peace, and for the bringing of the Kingdom of God into the life of the world within this generation. (b) Christianity needs to be so restated in our time, as to make it perfectly clear, that the Re- ligion of Jesus has to do with a growing, and not a fixed and finished humanity. The defenders of 19 Christianity, too often, confound the institution- al forms, which our religion has created, with the religion itself. That is to say, the institu- tional forms created by Christianity are tempor- ary; and must change in form, to meet the ever accelerating growth of redeemed manhood; whilst Jesus, our Lord, is the changeless life and ef- ficiency of all the forms, that have been, that are now, that are to be in the future. Had Jesus, our Lord, been an institution builder, He had been a charlatan, as all other institution builders have been and are. But He put His own life prin- ciples and potencies into the Kingdom of God, in the certainty, that His potencies therein would make and mould all institutional forms, which may ever be needed by a growing humanity. The preachers of our century will have an op- portunity to so state our religion as to make this to be clear. (3) The preachers of the present century have splendid opportunity to imbue the consciousness of this generation with the great truth, that Chris- tianity is either a self-evident fact and force in the life of the world; or else it is just nothing at all of value to men. It may startle many of you, my brethren, to be told that Christianity cannot be proven to be true. Understand me! Christianity may be seen to be true, may be found to be true, may be known to be true. Christianity has been seen to be true, has been known to be true. It has not been proven to be true. It cannot be proven to be true. It does not ask to be proven to be true. It does not need to be proven to be true. And all this, for the very best of all reasons, namely: It is a self-evident Fact in the life of the world; and no 20 more needs to be proven to be true and present in human things, than the limitless yearning of vegetal gestation needs to be proven to be true in the verdure and flowers of the blessed May Days of the fruitful years. What should you say of a professor of the mathematics, who should begin his course of in- struction in that science, with any sort of argu- ment to prove, that things equal to the same thing are equal to each other? That the whole of anything is greater than one of its parts? You would probably say to him: "See here, my learn- ed ninny, do not waste your time and mine trying to prove that to be true, which needs no proving — which is self-evident." "Ah," says some dear brother, "cannot I prove Christianity to be true by the Bible?" No! — my dear brother, you cannot prove Christianity to be true by the Bible; since it is exactly the Bible, that is the point of infidelic attack, and that needs to be proven to be true. You can prove the Bible to be true by Christianity; you cannot prove Christianity to be true by the Bible. "But," says another dear brother, "cannot I prove Christianity to be true by miracle?" No! — my dear brother, you cannot prove Chris- tianity to be true by miracle. You can prove miracle to be true by Christianity. I do not know that foot-sore traveler in Judea to be the Son of God, because he raised Lazarus from the dead. What I do know is, that Lazarus was raised from the dead, because that foot- sore Traveler in Judea is the Son of God. I do not know God and His Christ to be true, because I find the Bible in them. What I do know is, that the Bible is true because I find God and His 21 Christ in it. Christianity is larger and clearer in human consciousness, than any outward manifes- tation of it can be. You never can prove the larger by the lesser. Forevermore, we are shut up to the proving of the lesser by the larger. And this, for the reason, that the larger can never be all included within the lesser; but the lesser is all included within the larger. Not only, my dear brethren, must the method of religious proving be changed; but the things to be proven must be changed also. The idea, that Jesus, our Lord, can be verified to any human soul by historical records, however minute, extensive and venerable they may be, is absurd to the last extreme of absurdity. The no- tion, almost universally held by Christians in our time, that the Holy Spirit can write God and His Christ more fully and more plainly into literature, into precept, than He can write them into the consciousness of men, is false, and should be dis- used and abandoned at once. Now, all this is just the same thing as saying, that Christianity is larger, clearer, more constant, more powerful in the consciousness of human souls, than it can be in the embodiments of liter- ature, of precept; that any embodiment of Chris- tianity in history, in literature, in precept, is a process of obscuration, in comparison with its presence as a Fact in the souls of men. God does not come into the souls of men out of the Bible. The Bible comes powerfully, radiantly in- to the consciousness of men out of God. And it comes thus into consciousness by processes as truly cosmic and natural as are those, which paint God's ideal of beauty upon the petals of a rose. Religion is not an enactment, a statute, to be officially pro- 22 claimed and administered. It is an original, a necessary Pact, arising out of the relations of Being. The moment there was God and one other intelligence, that moment was there religion; for there was relation; and religion is a necessity of relations betwixt intelligences. Our religion, then did not come out of the Bible. The Bible came out of our religion. Miracle did not come out of the Bible. The Bible came out of miracle; and miracle is nothing else but a free and active God in the universe, with will and L>ower to do anything therein, that He wants to do. My dear brethren, these are great truths, where- unto I have now called your attention. I hope they may have been made plain to you. But, whether they may have been made plain to you or not, it is cause of great gladness to me, that this great century will give to abler and better preachers than we have ever been, opportunity to make them clear, even as God's own sunlight Is clear.